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‘The Wake’ at the Shakespeare Tavern May 8, 15, 22

2022 April 17
by Susan Asher

“The Wake,” a new play by one of my favorite most creative playwrights, Vennie Meli, premieres Sundays this May.

Finneas O’Conner has died, and his old cronies gather together to celebrate his life. They share laughs, sing songs and settle old scores. A woman competes with the funeral director for attention, a brawl erupts and while singing the song “Tim Finnegan’s Irish Wake,” when they get to the part about whiskey splashing on Tim Finnegan, he is brought back to life and appears. This song about the celebration of life, death and resurrection, is just one of many that crowds will know and sing along with. The friends get rowdy and compete and argue while singing familiar songs, as well as new ones written by Scott Depoy and Venni Meli. It’s a fun, lighthearted and touching show about the loss of loved ones and the memories they leave behind.

The show’s playwright, Vynnie Meli, has written plays that have been produced across the U.S., and her short-form operas have played in Australia and Germany. Twice selected for the New York Musical Festival, her musical A Cappella received numerous NYMF awards, the SteeleSprings Stage Rights Publishing Award and Alliance Theatre’s Atlanta Artists Reiser Lab. A semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Award and Finalist for Theatre Resources Unlimited/TRU, she’s received ATHE and Jane Chambers Awards Honorable Mentions; and Poets & Writers Magazine and Anna Sosenko Grants. Locally, she’s received the Essential Theatre and Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre Awards for “Best New Work” and the Atlanta branch of the Nat’l League of Pen Women Award for Playwright of the Year.

Musical director Scott DePoy sang on the soundtrack for the film Cold Mountain and at the Academy Awards with Elvis Costello and Alison Krauss. He has written songs for Kaiser Permanente, Imagine it! The Children’s Museum, and has composed and performed the music for several shows, including A Child’s Garden of Verses at The Alliance Theatre and Phantom of the Opry at Upstairs at Gene and Gabe’s. He has been a musician for Cotton Patch Gospel at Theatrical Outfit and Ring of Fire and Almost Heaven; The John Denver Story at Georgia Ensemble Theatre.

Director Mira Hirsch was the founder and artistic director of Jewish Theatre of the South for the whole of that company’s thirteen-year history. She is currently a secondary school theatre teacher at Atlanta International School and an educational consultant and workshop leader with the National Jewish Theatre Foundation’s Holocaust Theatre International Initiative. Professional and university directing credits include: Indecent (Suzi Awards – nominee Outstanding Direction Play), A Little PrincessThe Best Of Enemies and My Name Is Asher Lev at Theatrical Outfit; Camelot at Atlanta Lyric; The Last Night Of Ballyhoo at Stage Door Players; The Miraculous Journey Of Edward Tulane (Suzi Awards – nominee Outstanding Direction – TYA) at Synchronicity; The Visit and Arcadia at Oglethorpe University; Falsettos (concert production) at Souper Jenny Atlanta; and Anne Frank: Within And Without at the Center for Puppetry Arts. 


The Wake, A New Play With Old Irish Songs, by Vynnie Meli, includes additional music by Scott DePoy with lyrics by Vynnie Meli. It runs at The Shakespeare Tavern, 499 Peachtree Street, NE; Atlanta, GA 30308, 7:30pm Sundays on May 8, 15 and 22. Dinner and drinks are available from 6:15 until 7:20. The show runs 80 minutes with no intermission. Tickets on sale now – $25 for General Admission and $20 for Students, Seniors, Educators & Military. or call the Shakespeare Tavern Box Office 404-874-5299 x 0. Parking is available across the street at Emory University Hospital, Midtown. 

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